Months after a budget stalemate saw Illinois Lottery winners issued with IOUs for prizes worth more than $600, Governor Bruce Rauner and the stateâ€™s legislature finally reached an agreement to release $1 billion in funds to those who have won $600 or more on the stateâ€™s lottery games. After being approved by the Illinois House of Representatives, the state Senate will now vote on the proposal this coming Monday.
The Chicago Tribune reported earlier this week that more than $2.1 million in additional revenue will also be distributed to municipalities across the state to cover the costs of 911 centers, firefighting departments and road maintenance over the winter.
After the state began operating without a budget, the Illinois Lottery stopped paying out prizes worth more than $25,000. In October, the threshold was lowered to $600 as the stateâ€™s budget woes continued. The payment of large Illinois Lottery prizes must be authorized by the State Comptroller, which, due to the lack of a state budget, could only issue IOUs to such winners.
A number of players have now launched a class-action lawsuit against the Illinois Lottery in an attempt to receive the money owed to them. In a recent hearing, a judge ordered both parties to settlement talks. The lawsuit is still set to go forward even if the funds are released, as attorney Tom Zimmerman maintains that the interest the money accrued while it was held by the Lottery should also be given to the plaintiffs.